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Bites Nearby: Haps Original in Pleasanton

A savory steak you won't soon forget.

Haps Original Steakhouse in Pleasanton is a great restaurant if you have some time and money to spend. The restaurant doesn't only have steaks, though. Seafood also is on the menu. On a recent visit I couldn't find an appetizer, entree or dessert that wasn't delicious. 

Before placing your order you will be served bread and crudites, a selection of raw vegetables. This seemed like a brilliant idea that saved calories for other menu items rather than having diners fill up on the bread that most places provide.

We started our dining experience with some appetizers. The gorgonzola prawns wrapped in prosciutto with chili garlic sauce were smoky from the prosciutto, but sweet and spicy from the chili sauce. The prawns were $16. 

We also had the calamari fritti, a tender calamari steak that was sliced and lightly breaded. It was mixed with onions and peppers, which was a nice surprise. The chipotle aioli was perfect for dipping. The calamari was $14. 

There were so many great appetizers, soups and salads that it was hard to make a choice. Soups and salads range from $8-$9 and appetizer prices vary.

For an entree, my companion had the special, mahi mahi with scallops on a bed of risotto. The fish was moist and delicious and the risotto was creamy and tender. This dish was $36.

The great thing about Hap's is that your steak is made exactly as you want. The meat is Certified Angus beef from the Midwest that's been corn-fed and aged 21-28 days. It is grilled over an open flame and cooked to your specifications — black and blue (charred on the outside but cool in the center),  rare or well done. You choose your sauce, too: Bordelaise, bearnaise, brandy peppercorn or beef pan gravy. There are many sizes and cuts, from an 8-ounce center cut filet mignon to a 24-ounce piece of prime rib. Prices range from $28 to $46.  

I had the Certified Angus beef dry aged strip steak. It was tender with lots of great flavor. Delicious! It came with perfectly seasoned peppers, broccoli and carrots for $34. You also can get a variety of sides, including a baked potato and grilled artichoke, in the $4-$7 range. 

Hap's menu also includes lamb chops, pork chops, ribs, chicken, and a host of seafood choices from scallops to lobster tail. Prices range from $25 for the lemon and herb-marinated roasted chicken breast to $88 for the filet mignon and lobster tail. 

You cannot leave Hap's without trying a dessert. We waited an extra 10 minutes just to have the chocolate souffle. It was warm and fluffy goodness paired with vanilla ice cream. The souffle was definitely enough for two and cost $9.50. 

The Haps wine list that features many California wines and is constantly changing. It will take five or 10 minutes to look through the extensive wine list. There are well drinks, too.

My opinion of Haps evolved during the course of my meal there. Service was on the slow side. It took maybe 15 minutes for our order to be taken. It just felt wrong to be sitting there with not much going on except some conversation. Then I started thinking that this dinner was probably going to run us $200 with a $40 bottle of wine. Do I really want to spend $200 in one hour? No way! I want to savor this. I want to go slow, enjoy each bite and feel like I had a great evening rather than just a good, fast meal. 

And that's what happened.

Haps is a great place to relax and enjoy wonderful food with wonderful company. 

The restaurant also caters and hosts private parties.  

Haps Original Steak-Seafood-Chops, 122 West Neal St., Pleasanton. 925-600-9200. Bar is open Mon.-Sat. 4-10 p.m., Sun. 4-9 p.m. Dinner is served Mon.-Sat. 5-10 p.m., Sun. 5-9 p.m.

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